How do you develop the entrepreneurial spirit at a younger age? Provide students with a platform to explore those interests.
That’s just what the West Virginia University College of Business and Economics has done through a partnership with the state’s Department of Education in creating the West Virginia High School Business Plan Competition.
Funding for the high school competition will come from a $3 million gift from the BrickStreet Foundation to B&E that was announced on Feb. 26.
“We are so happy to announce a five-year agreement with the West Virginia Department of Education creating the West Virginia High School Business Plan Competition,” said Jose “Zito” Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean. “The competition will be open to 157 West Virginia high schools and 37,000 high school juniors and seniors. It will provide increased opportunities to encourage and bolster the entrepreneurial spirit, as well as access for younger audiences to entrepreneurial thought and education.”
Additionally, the WVU College of Business and Economics has committed a $10,000 scholarship to the winning team of up to four students if they choose to attend B&E. All four-year colleges and universities in West Virginia will be challenged by B&E to give that same prize, allowing the winning team to pick whatever West Virginia school they wish to attend and have scholarship money to attend that school.
“West Virginia is an entrepreneurial state and we, in education, need to create more opportunities for students to acquire the skill sets needed to be an entrepreneur,” said Kathy D’Antoni, West Virginia assistant state superintendent of schools. “This partnership with the WVU College of Business and Economics through the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship will give students across West Virginia a chance to dream and an opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skill sets.”
“As more students think deeply about the role entrepreneurship could play in their lives and they decide to pursue those dreams, the culture and economy of West Virginia will thrive,” she said. “The West Virginia Department of Education is excited to partner with West Virginia University to help high school juniors and seniors find a way to make their careers here in West Virginia through entrepreneurship.”
B&E and state education officials said they hoped to have all details worked out so that the high school business plan competition could launch for the 2013-14 school year.
“The West Virginia Department of Education has spent over a year building a K-12 entrepreneurship strategy,” said Dr. Gene Coulson, executive director, Office of Career and Technical Innovation, West Virginia Department of Education. “With much input from West Virginia entrepreneurs and educators, we have built and implemented entrepreneurial activities in schools at every level, with more to come. The West Virginia High School Business Plan Competition will be the capstone showcase for those students who have identified entrepreneurship as a possible career pathway. I look forward to working with the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on this important initiative.”
Sartarelli said the competition represents an opportunity for all of West Virginia.
“This is a golden opportunity for all of us to help younger students with their entrepreneurial interests,” he said. “By providing this avenue to high school students, we are building the foundation for an environment of new technologies, new companies and new jobs in our state.”
For further information on the West Virginia High School Business Plan Competition or the WVU College of Business and Economics, please visit www.be.wvu.edu .
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CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, College of Business and Economics